To combine sport and relaxation, the Charente-Maritime is a favorite place for the practice of kitesurfing due to the privileged configuration of its coasts, and especially thanks to its islands where it is possible to sail almost all year whatever the wind conditions. Passionate about this discipline, I find a local and international figure in this nautical sport to take a tour of the favorite Charentais spots : the professional freerider Hugo Guias , European champion of freestyle kitesurfing in 2017.
Hugo Guias, pro kiteboarder from Charente-Maritime
The spot of Riverdoux Nord, at the foot of the Ile de Ré bridge
Among the most popular areas of the coast, the spot of Rivedoux Plage nord , at the exit of the Ile de Ré bridge on the right is particularly favorable to the practice of this sport thanks to a marked area and a wide beach reserved for kitesurfers . With the charming little village of Rivedoux and the majestic bridge of the Ile de Ré in the background, this spot benefits from a bay protected from waves , with little depth and an ideal wind from the north-west, north and northeast. A parking lot allows you to park behind the dune and easily access the spot, which has a small beach to take off and land its wing. Be careful however at low tide or ebb tide, the spot space is drastically reduced because of the oyster beds . In season, the kite school "Ile de Ré Kitesurf" offers courses and courses for the initiation or development of lovers of the discipline.
An air from the end of the world on the Banc du Bucheron
Thanks to its exceptional bay devoid of currents and obstacles, anchored in a dream setting , the Portes en Ré beach and its ephemeral sandbank which is discovered at low tide undeniably ranks at the top of the list of favorite spots for kitesurfers local. A magnificent stretch of beach as far as the eye can see, a shallow sandy bottom, a tongue of sand far from bathers to take off and land (beware of the tide schedules), a real little paradise on earth for fans of the discipline. By wind dominating east, north and northeast, the wind brings you back to the beach which makes it an ideal place to start in peace. The favorite place of the traveling kitesurfing school "Philo Vent" based near the La Passe dike in Ars-en-Ré. A large car park allows you to park a few minutes from the beach, however you have to cross the pine forest to access the dune. A spot that deserves ! The flat water particularly delighted confirmed to perfect their freestyle and the opening on the ocean allows to move away from the coast and navigate in peace in this splendid bay. Beware, however, of the current of the Pride d'Ars along the sandbank, it can be very strong and lead offshore, especially at ebb tide.
A few kilometers south of La Rochelle , Aytré beach offers a stretch of sand of over 2 km between Pointe de Roux in the North and Pointe du Chay in the South. To access the beach, nothing could be simpler just park your car behind the dune in the car parks provided for this purpose. Navigable 2 hours before and after high tide, it is a shallow spot with a muddy bottom . A word of advice: don't forget your slippers because the feet sink into the mud strewn with oyster shells and sharp mussels. Take off from the beach to practice in this lagoon which is not entirely turquoise… Indeed, by mixing with the mud, the water takes on a brown color which, certainly does not detract from the pleasure of sailing but may surprise the first on board. The urban decor of La Rochelle dominates the background, a little chop accompanies you and you quickly find beautiful sensations on this ultra-secure spot with a southwest, west and northwest orientation. On windy days, the Aytré spot is heavily frequented so watch out for clashes between practitioners. The CKS kitesurf school has made it its base and provides quality lessons for beginners and insiders.
Cap sur Châtelaillon-Plage , one of the most beautiful beaches in Charente-Maritime located ten kilometers south of La Rochelle. This superb family seaside resort benefits from a sublime fine sandy beach of 3km and a view of Fort Boyard on the horizon. In the off season or once the bathers have deserted the beach, the kite area is south of the beach before the dike. This is an ideal spot for beginners and experienced kitesurfers, based on small choppy waves or waves, azure water and a picturesque setting. If ever the breeze intensifies, beautiful waves emerge for a slightly sportier session. Its geographical location, a large sandy bay , exposes it to the strong ocean swell that pours down to the beach. Châtelaillon is a spot to discover absolutely if you want to initiate kitesurfing with the family.
One hour south of La Rochelle, the island of Oléron welcomes winter sports enthusiasts in search of unspoiled, windswept sites. On the west coast in the north of the island, the Seulières beach is the essential kitesurf spot with northwesterly wind. Access to the open sea offers you extraordinary sailing conditions, beautiful shore-break waves during high tide and a reassuring flat area at low tide. On the east coast in the north of the island, Plaisance beach has a shallow kitesurf spot at low tide as at high tide in north and northeast winds. The Gautrelle spot further south is also a superb adventure field for kitesurfers.
Here is another ideal spot in Charente-Maritime, 15 minutes from Royan in a secure area protected by the bay cove! With its tongue of sand, the bay of Bonne Anse works with all wind orientations, except North and North-East. Beginners as experienced kiters find the space necessary for a good navigation, a generally calm body of water and especially a shallow sandy bottom, suitable for learning. Favor the rising tide because when Bonne Anse empties at falling tide, the currents can become very strong. At low tide, the bay reveals superb sandbanks and paradisiacal panoramas.
Whatever your level, Charente-Maritime is a concentrate of idyllic conditions for kitesurfing. Satisfy your thirst for skiing on these renowned water bodies, the time has come to take out your board, your kite and take off! Emotion and adrenaline guaranteed !
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Photos and article prepared by Lesley Williamson
Photos of Hugo Guias by Gaël Contal IntoTheWaves
Intro photo for the article:Romain Marie